courts

Chemist acquitted of possessing banned pills

Dubai Appeal Court overturns 7-year sentence and Dh50,000 fine citing lack of criminal intention

14:58 October 11, 2017

Dubai: A chemist sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment in May for bringing banned pills into the UAE was acquitted by the Dubai Appeal Court on Wednesday.

Citing lack of criminal intention, presiding judge Saeed Salem Bin Sarm cleared the 37-year-old Chinese woman of the charges against her.

The Dubai Court of First Instance had jailed her for seven years and fined her Dh50,000 for smuggling and possessing 483 Pregabalin pills.

Law enforcement officers had found the banned pills in her luggage at the Dubai International Airport in January.

She appealed the primary judgement before the appeal court contending that she carried the pills for research and development purposes.

Her lawyer told the court that “the suspect is a chemist and holds a postgraduate degree in chemistry. She is a business partner in a pharmaceutical products company in her country and she had flown to Pakistan for research purposes. She did not even buy those pills for herself”.

The chemist also submitted an official certification from a Chinese company confirming that she had been tasked to carry the Pregabalin pills for research.

“The letter mentioned that my client had been commissioned to carry those pills only for research purposes and not for personal consumption. She was apprehended in the transit section and does not reside in Dubai. She could not get a direct flight from Pakistan to China so she booked on Emirates airline … the customs inspector who stopped her testified that my client had admitted to her that she was transiting through Dubai. She obtained the requested permission to carry the Pregabalin in Pakistan and in China only and she was not aware that she had to obtain one for the UAE since she was not scheduled to stay herein,” her lawyer said.

The lawyer also provided the court with copies of the defendant’s university degrees confirming that his client is a chemist and pharmacist.

The appellate ruling remains subject to appeal before the Cassation Court within 30 days.